Pa*ter"nal (?), a. [L. paternus, fr. pater a father: cf. F. paternel. See Father.]


Of or pertaining to a father; fatherly; showing the disposition of a father; guiding or instructing as a father; as, paternal care.

"Under paternal rule."



Received or derived from a father; hereditary; as, a paternal estate.

Their small paternal field of corn. Dryden.

Paternal government Polit. Science, the assumption by the governing power of a quasi-fatherly relation to the people, involving strict and intimate supervision of their business and social concerns, upon the theory that they are incapable of managing their own afffairs.


© Webster 1913.

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